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Obama’s Afghan Purge: Enduring Purgatory, Awaiting Islamic Revival

         The verdict is in; 30,000 more troops are ...
Today’s world seemingly lacks a clear, alternative ideology and conscious awakening another factor
common in the era where...
duration of the era under hegemonic dictation. Therefore the seriousness of such a situation no longer represent
a war bet...
By early 1968, there were more than 500,000 troops and because the guerilla war was taking its toll on U.S.
troops and ess...
whether there was a difference between public support for the Vietcong or the Taliban. “The Vietcong were
respected above ...
torpedo boats and not the other way around, the American public was led to believe that Vietnamese
Communists had attacked...
6) The use of air power in Vietnam and its adverse effects is also telling. Despite knowing that air assault
Obama, in complete arrogance, exemplifies the reality that American hubris had turned to high degree.
In his speech he cla...
also marked by an overreach that has witnessed the bankruptcy and subsequent fall of many empires in time.
There are sligh...
costs” and lists Japan, Turkey, and Brazil,4 countries that have arisen since the War on Islam began and that
represent ri...
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Obama's Afghan Purge:Enduring Purgatory ,Awaiting Islamic Revival


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Obama's Afghan Purge:Enduring Purgatory ,Awaiting Islamic Revival

  1. 1. Obama’s Afghan Purge: Enduring Purgatory, Awaiting Islamic Revival The verdict is in; 30,000 more troops are on their way to Afghanistan, the first wave of 16,000 are on their way. The first fiery-eyed Marines already have stepped off in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province and are ready to “engage” the Taliban. President Obama has made his decision, an insane verdict not so-much based on careful deliberation but on calculative political strategy and pragmatic efforts to preserve the loyalty of a passive mass that generally still believes he actually speaks and makes decisions for himself. Months of deliberation were a ploy to see if they could manipulate the political process and overthrow the Karzai regime, proclaim a great victory for democracy in Afghanistan and sway the momentum away from the resistance movement. The effort failed as anticipated; instead the resistance movement gained significant victories, Karzai remains but is further delegitimized and Obama was forced to expend and expose America’s imperialist realities. Many are critical of the surge and for various reasons. Some point to the reality that it is all about creating concessions to the military-industrial complex, many attribute geostrategic purposes of protecting Western control over the Caspian Sea and access to Middle East oil, and others simply believe America should revert to concern for its domestic economy with some of them holding the belief that debt and deficit will eventually bankrupt the country altogether. Others are most concerned about the death of U.S. troops. Few, however principally hold it as a moral crime and even less discussion occurs with regard to the tens of thousands of Afghans that will die as a result. Certainly, for now, the decision has damaged Obama’s reputation even further and ended more of the hope, only one year, in that he is actually offering “change” Americans can believe in. While all of these factors certainly contribute to the U.S. occupation generally, the real cause that is overlooked and undiscussed is much simpler; America is an empire: not in its beginning, not at its peak, but in decline. Empires are typically reluctant to accept their end; in so behaving they become increasingly destructive and thereby may generate the establishment of an antagonist platform that spurs and stimulates the beginning of a counter-hegemonic order by which they are eventually removed. Imperialism is always about materialist gain and geopolitical strategy, but imperialist intervention is also always clothed in humanitarian justification. Obama is no different in different in this. Obama absurdly tried to justify his escalation of troops, while accepting the Nobel Peace Prize this week, by referring to the Afghan War as a “just war”, a reference that suits none of the criteria for such a claim. However even those that oppose the enhanced intervention fail to see the comprehensive cause and attribute it to sole material gain. Their proclaimed justifications are actually mere manifestations of the satanic disease that is imperialism. They fail to recognize the historical processes unfolding before their very eyes and so attribute the perpetuation of war as having rational roots in greed and ambition. This Marxist sense of attributing empire to greed and selfishness is based in a positivist-materialism that underemphasizes the spiritual dimension of time and the role of peaks, ebbs, and cultural momentum in marking the long term trends of civilization at large. History testifies to the irrational and exuberant decisions that mark the end of Empires and the collective spiritual awakenings that underlie their birth. The real shame of misunderstanding the historical process unfolding today may prove to be in the lack of effort of conscious people everywhere not merely to oppose the escalation of wars under American dominance, but to create a counter-hegemonic alternative while the latest example of world empire falls into decline. 1
  2. 2. Today’s world seemingly lacks a clear, alternative ideology and conscious awakening another factor common in the era where there is a general ignorance that the empire is in decline. The death of communism cemented a widely touted permanent victory for secular, democratic norms. All empires have held the view that theirs would be the last. What few opposed to the continuation of escalation of troops in Afghanistan and American imperialism generally actually know and understand is that Islam contains the necessarily complete alternative system offered by the set of revolutionary principles contained in the religion. While the 1400 year history of Western academic imperialism, known as Orientalism, has permanently cemented the vision of Islam as medieval and ancient within the European mind and the recent 400 year period of decline in the Muslim world has rendered the populace ineffective in creating a comprehensive counter- hegemonic force to compete in the contemporary arena, nine years into the “War on Terror” there is a visible awakening of potential counter-hegemonic proportion inside Muslim masses of the world, a mass that makes up at least twenty percent of the global population. This awakening is marked not only by the use of force to exact political upheavals and alteration, but in a general popular return to Islamic norms that run counter to the proclaimed superior system of the hegemon (think of the widespread return to the hijab in the Muslim world as not only a religious but political statement), and the increasingly support for Islamist political parties despite apparent and widespread efforts by the hegemon to prevent such progressions. However, while the religion of Islam contains principles that run very contradictory to what has become a global norm and while there is a widespread return to it, most of what appears to be ostensibly opposed to the superpower is markedly shaped by it. While this is not necessarily inconsistent with the typical formulation of what becomes a new counter- hegemonic force, there may be no real alteration or counteraction until there is an absolute rejection and unwillingness to participate in the paradigm set up by the dominant order. With these advances, questions have arisen as to the degree to which opposition to empire may be shaped by it and these questions are giving rise to an awareness and consciousness that there is a very real need for a complete revolution based on Islamic norms and that one is unfolding. The more Muslims are brought to recognize this reality, the faster the counter- hegemonic block may formulate the sort of self-awareness that will advance it to the next stage. The need to synthesize principle and ideology in practice is something that, quite contrary to traditional views of revolutionary history, does not occur instantaneously. All revolutions outwardly appear to arise out of the ashes into spontaneous uprising, a closer reflection and analysis reveals however that they were a process of struggle and mobilization oftentimes led and initiated by the repression of a greater force. To imagine that the pressure of external imperialist force does not in some ways shape the counter-hegemonic movement is absurd; that being the case one need not believe in a permanent clash of civilizations in order to prove revolutionary. Seeing history as a series of synthesis is also not necessary, looking at the world however as a series of historical processes does enable one to realize the true nature of change as constant and moving at the same time. This awareness of historical process is lacking in both the Obama administration and American society generally and so they continue in folly towards what will prove to be no instantaneous victory, but a victory that when reviewed in hindsight will prove to testify that a transparent historical phase shift was visible the whole time. The problem remains however for Muslims to become aware of the changes, gains and progresses amidst a constant portrayal that all is lost and to consciously direct the flow of history toward one of renaissance and revival and away from one where outwardly apparent changes are intrinsically more of the same. For those that view Islam as a comprehensive and progressive solution, their lie in an area of observation and sensation a reality whereby what is happening in the Middle East, Afghanistan and the Muslim world generally at this time is no other than the initiation of such a synthesis of theory and practice and the real life instigation of a renaissance that may commence the process toward visible and actual revolutionary change. In fact, this has been occurring as a process for quite some time, since even before the Afghan jihad in the 1980’s which many site as the beginning of the present threat facing Western dominance. The effect of coming to the realization of this progression means that the continued struggle in Afghanistan is representative of much more than resistance against imperialism and is actually a struggle which, in the event of victory, would generate the sort of ideological contemplation and intellectual resurrection that may mean the official formulation of such a comprehensive counter-hegemonic ideology set to challenge norms assumed as self-evident truths for the 2
  3. 3. duration of the era under hegemonic dictation. Therefore the seriousness of such a situation no longer represent a war between the world’s sole superpower in one of the world’s poorest countries but something even more significant. The struggle to maintain the ideological influence the hegemon may force on the “other” and thereby a clash of civilizations in so much as imperialists cannot live in a multi-polar world. The struggle of the anti-imperialist therefore becomes a means of testing principle in practice, not just in theory and developing the pragmatic skills necessary to replace hegemony with independence. Thereby, the ultimate goal of liberating Afghanistan must be for Islam generally and so that such a liberating force can be initiated and imperialism eventually disposed and replaced with a general and widespread liberation. This notion is included masterfully in a hadith claiming that the Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) said, “Help your brother, whether he is an oppressor or he is oppressed”. The Prophet was asked, “It is right to help him if he is oppressed, but how should we help him if he is an oppressor?” He replied, “By preventing him from oppressing others.1” The United States found itself at a similar stage in its role as hegemon during the Vietnam War, a war that almost diminished its imperialist ambition, certainly altered the dimensions of its imperialism, and in actuality paved the way for its ability to become the unrivaled and unchallenged power it is today. Discussing and analyzing Vietnam’s realities helps not only to gain a sense of comprehension of the present condition but also serve as a quite useful analogy to critique the justification for Obama’s surge. After World War II, Vietnam declared its intention to emancipate itself from the colonialism and imperialism that continued at the hands of the French even after Japan was defeated in World War II. Japan was defeated in Vietnam with the help of an American ally. The leader, a communist by the name of Ho Chi Mein, began his Vietnamese Constitution of 1945 with the same words as America’s, “All men are created equal. They are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness." And, for a matter of days, Vietnam was completely free from imperialist control and independent. That is until it was determined that Indochina would be recolonized as the post World War II arena, allegedly built on the end of colonialism and a new beginning for sovereignty and democracy, would not last long: the United States encouraged China to secede its imperialist ambitions over Northern Indochina and return rule to the French while South Indochina was returned to the British. After 1949, with the victory of Communism in China, the United States began funneling massive covert munitions to the French in Vietnam to quell the populist, democratic movement of Ho Chi Mein which by now had become engaged in a guerilla war for control over the country. This set of policies was justified by and initiated talk amongst policy-makers within the U.S. of the “domino-theory,” the theory that if one country fell to Communism in Indochina it would initiate a chain reaction for nations across the region. Therefore, much of the covert and overt intervention of the Cold War era was due to preventing “Communists” from establishing control over even the smallest nation in the world. The Vietnam War would become a consequence of this as would many, many others. By 1954, the French were losing control to the indigenous Vietnamese movement and agreed to split the country into two and hold elections after a few years that would decide the political fate of the country. The United States rushed to support the Southern, French-backed government it set up in Saigon and set up as head of that government a former Vietnamese official named Ngo Dinh Diem who had recently been living in New Jersey. Under their pressure he was encouraged not to hold scheduled elections for unification as they set up a proxy regime. This started a process of massive covert funding as a corrupt government was imposed. He was supported until 1963 when the Kennedy Administration through the CIA plotted a military coup and imposed even harsher dictators upon the Vietnamese people. Despite these efforts the Northern Vietnamese were able to quell repression and initiated a war for independence. The failure of American covert effort to control Vietnam eventually forced military intervention. By 1965, over 200,000 American soldiers were sent to South Vietnam and in 1966, 200,000 more were deployed. 1 Sahih Bukhari, Volume 3, Hadith 624 3
  4. 4. By early 1968, there were more than 500,000 troops and because the guerilla war was taking its toll on U.S. troops and essentially defeating the imperialist push, the U.S. increasingly chose to rely on air power coincident to deliberate trauma and terrorism against the civilian populations to try to force submission of the Vietcong. U.S. camps held tens of thousands of prisoners and reports of torture were commonplace, whole villages, like during the Mai Lai massacre, were executed, napalm bombs were dropped as naked civilians ran down the streets with their skin melting while at home on U.S. soil politicians and pundits cried that the war was a just war and served a greater purpose. Fortunately, by 1968, the youth in America started to decry the war and built the antiwar movement that eventually forced the United States government to leave. Soldiers began refusing to deploy, protests were everywhere, and every college campus in the country faced the wrath of an angry population. Today there is no significant angry population or protest and few see any similarity in comparison between Afghanistan and Vietnam. Very little dissent exists at all with regard to Obama’s surge in Afghanistan. Indeed there was hardly a voice of resistance at the onset of deployment by Johnson as well, but the generational and historical repugnance of Vietnam has been replaced by a common passivity, limited dissent comes from a few intellectuals from the very generation that lived Vietnam and hardly any of the youth are opposed whatsoever to the measure. While polling shows that the majority do not support the advances, the rationale is due to their concern for domestic affairs. There is no protest movement, little mobilization, and very little concern whatsoever for the innocent lives in Afghanistan. There are no reports of U.S. troop’s killing civilians in the mainstream press, no government leaks, no objection to war and occupation based on principle. Mostly there is support based on the threat of Al-Qaeda despite the U.S. government’s own intelligence estimate that there are less than 100 Al-Qaeda members in the whole of the country. Obama himself rejected comparisons between Vietnam and Afghanistan claiming, There are those who suggest that Afghanistan is another Vietnam. They argue that it cannot be stabilized, and we're better off cutting our losses and rapidly withdrawing. I believe this argument depends on a false reading of history. Unlike Vietnam, we are joined by a broad coalition of 43 nations that recognizes the legitimacy of our action. Unlike Vietnam, we are not facing a broad-based popular insurgency. And most importantly, unlike Vietnam, the American people were viciously attacked from Afghanistan, and remain a target for those same extremists who are plotting along its border. To abandon this area now -- and to rely only on efforts against al Qaeda from a distance -- would significantly hamper our ability to keep the pressure on al Qaeda, and create an unacceptable risk of additional attacks on our homeland and our allies.” However, Afghanistan is a lot more like Vietnam than we may be led to believe. Firstly, the United States interference in South Vietnam at the wars onset was supported by almost all Western European and non-communist nations. In fact, NATO’s participation in the war does not represent the wishes of the people in the country’s they represent as a dominant majority of the populace within NATO countries did not support even the immediate intervention in Afghanistan and in reality the United Nations Security Council never even authorized the use of force. In fact, public polling in nearly all of the 43 countries Obama called out as allies do not support the War in Afghanistan despite the incessant barrage of media propaganda insinuating that it is a just war. In reality, their government’s going along with the war is only to obey the master of the presently unipolar world and seemingly only so the world does not look so unipolar afterwards. It is apparently in their own national interest for the American hegemon to burn itself out in imperialist overreach and perhaps they are grateful that it is not their country that is the target of U.S. economic, political or military aggression. As a result however, NATO has become very much an ancillary component of American power and Obama’s pressure that NATO countries also add more troops is not going to go over so well within their domestic political constituencies in the event increasing numbers of their citizens come home in caskets. Obama claimed that the U.S., unlike Vietnam, is not facing a popular insurgency in Afghanistan. However, Daniel Ellsberg, the whistleblower that released the Pentagon Papers to the press and essentially sealed an end to the Vietnam War claims that the Vietcong never had majority support either. When asked 4
  5. 5. whether there was a difference between public support for the Vietcong or the Taliban. “The Vietcong were respected above all as having beaten the French before us just as the Taliban or their forerunners are respected for having beaten the Soviets, but the difference is not as great as you may think. There was never majority support for the Vietcong led by the Communists being the rulers of Vietnam, If people had a genuinely free election there, which of course never occurred, they would have had perhaps ten, fifteen, maybe 20 percent support…the difference was that they were all united in not wanting to be run either by foreigners, by Americans, or by a regime that was totally dependant on foreigners as the Saigon regime transparently was and as the Kabul regime transparently is. In other words what united people behind Vietcong leadership or I would expect Taliban support is that their leading the fight to expel foreigners.” Indeed all polls suggest that a majority in Afghanistan seek immediate withdrawal of all foreign troops, have a complete dislike of the Karzai Administration and since 2005 especially, support for the Taliban continues to increase. The spreading of forces loyal to the Taliban in Herat and in the North, non Pashtuni dominated areas specifically,2 shows that the movement is starting to surpass a solely tribalist relegation. A report from Human Rights Watch in 2006 declared that the Taliban was gaining strength in large rural parts of the country because the central government was perceived as corrupt and unable to deliver services. The report claimed, “There is a growing feeling among Afghanis that at least the Taliban brought peace and security.” By November 2007, a report from the International Council on Security and Development highlighted that, “research undertaken… indicates that 54 per cent of Afghanistan’s landmass hosts a permanent Taliban presence, primarily in southern Afghanistan, and is subject to frequent hostile activity by the insurgency. The insurgency now controls vast swaths of arteries. The Taliban are the de facto governing authority in significant portions of territory in the south, and are starting to control parts of the local economy and key infrastructure such as roads and energy supply. The insurgency also exercises a significant amount of psychological control, gaining more and more political legitimacy in the minds of the Afghan people who have a long history of shifting alliances and regime change.3” In 2008, Taliban in Pakistan started cutting off major U.S. supply routes, brokered a deal to rule over Swat valley thus forcing the U.S. to finance a Pakistani client state, and still control large portions of the North West Frontier Province. Indeed the popular support for the Taliban is growing not waning, and Obama’s first surge from March of this year led to significant inability to attain most of its goals and objectives and garnered more support for a Islamist, Taliban alternative. Obama should realize that, as in Vietnam, a continued and enhanced U.S. presence will only push more to support the Taliban which in itself is a misnomer as the Taliban has really embraced a vision that it is no longer simply a group of Pashtuni-Islamists but a genuine nationalist resistance movement, a non- discriminatory movement focused, at least for now, on eradicating a foreign presence. Obama’s troop surge will only give legitimacy to Mullah Omar who has recently offered non-intervention by the Taliban in international affairs in exchange for foreign troop evacuation, and even to broker a ceasefire on the condition occupying forces leave. The Taliban have started to put forth a vision of governance for the future of the nation and are sounding more and more like a better alternative to the corrupt puppet regime in Kabul. All of these realities are, in fact, very close to the reality of Vietnam. The third excuse that Obama touted for why his surge in Afghanistan was not like Vietnam, because “the American people were viciously attacked from Afghanistan” was also a fabrication and misunderstanding. Firstly, no Afghan attacked America on September 11, 2001 and we now know the majority of the attack was planned from Germany not Afghanistan. With regard to the statement that there was no pretext for Vietnam based on an attack on Americans, well it is only partly true. In fact, it was only after the NSA released confirmation in 2005 that the Gulf of Tonkin actually did not occur, that this was true. Prior to 2005, it was thought that the direct military involvement of the United States in Vietnam was initiated on August 4, 1964 when American destroyers reported an engagement with North Vietnamese boats. While the only actual engagement was the day before when the U.S. engaged North Vietnamese 2 See 3 See 5
  6. 6. torpedo boats and not the other way around, the American public was led to believe that Vietnamese Communists had attacked Americans and that war was essential in the name of national security. In fact, we now know beyond all doubt that plans were in act before 9/11 to overthrow the Taliban regime and to deploy military force to the country and replace the regime. Again Obama’s rhetoric does not pass the scrutiny of the factual analysis. Simply because Obama’s rationale was false with all three of his statements in regard to the analogy of Vietnam, it should not suggest that the U.S. presence in Afghanistan and its war with the “Taliban and Al-Qaeda” is exactly like Vietnam. Closer analysis and contemplation however proves that even more is eerily similar. A few points include: 1) Ho Chi Mein was an American ally towards the end of World War II; indeed he helped America against Japan. The Afghan mujahedeen were also utilized to fight off the U.S.S.R. and the Taliban were getting funding from the United States right up until the invasion in 2001. 2) As head of the government the former Vietnamese official named Ngo Dinh Diem, who had recently been living in New Jersey, and was placed in power by the U.S. to prevent carrying out scheduled elections for unification, was a CIA operative. Hamid Karzai his self is a former CIA operative and was residing in California in 2001 working for Unical. He, like Diem, has caught criticism from his CIA backers and while assassination tends not to be the policy of choice for the CIA these days certainly was subject to an American coup in the name of the Abu Abdullah faction contesting his reelection. As in Vietnam, regime change seems preferable to the increased backing of a corrupt and delegitimized faction they’ve been supporting. 3) With regard to corruption and support: Diem’s regime proved corrupt, oppressive, and extremely unpopular. Nonetheless the United States continued to prop it up, fearful of the increasing Communist resistance activity it noted in South Vietnam. The United States installed a regime consisting mostly of warlords and some of the most repressive and sinister remnants of the Northern Alliance after its invasion in 2001. Despite common knowledge that these people would be incredibly corrupt and oppressive the United States has continued to fund them primarily because they fear Islamic resistance in South Afghanistan and the fact that the insurgency will represent actual Afghan independence and not cow-tow to Western demands. 4) The U.S. constantly realized that it needed to increase troops in Vietnam. If truth were told one would realize that the actual number of troops in Afghanistan are more than claimed. The president said nothing in his address about the tens of thousands of private military contractors deployed by the Pentagon in Afghanistan (57 percent of the U.S. force presence there at the end of last June) or about the deadly, largely secret Predator drone war he has dramatically escalated against Afghan and Pakistani "terrorists" and civilians, or the proxy war being waged by 30,000 additional troops in Pakistan under U.S. pay. All these components are eerily reminiscent realities of the lies told by the government during Vietnam. 5) In Vietnam, as American efforts proved futile, there was a resorting to indiscriminate violence and terrorism. General McCrystal used this method in Iraq as well as Special Forces or death squads went through homes and towns to infiltrate whether members of Al-Qaeda were present. God only knows how many civilians were killed. Under McChrystal’s new strategy, Task Force Kandahar will begin to implement a plan to establish a ring of US and Canadian troops around Kandahar city. A general explains that, “The Intent is to insure that around the city … we create a ring of stability, so that we have a true buffer zone of people that believe in something else than the insurgency…” “The importance of stabilizing the area is key, because if we do this we will then turn the population into a population that will support us and therefore marginalize the insurgency. And that is what we are after.” This is the moral justification for war and imperialism against a civilian population. The people of Kandahar will be subject to massive control and violence to exact a deliberately intended political outcome, the very definition of terrorism. Like Vietnam, it will go by virtually unreported except for the occasional press leaking describing the killing of innocents, the searching of houses, and other general oppression McCrystal was rampant and ruthless in implementing in Iraq. 6
  7. 7. 6) The use of air power in Vietnam and its adverse effects is also telling. Despite knowing that air assault leads to the killing of civilians, the U.S. still uses the tactic and it has resulted in constant reports of civilian casualties. An increase in frustration, as in Vietnam, will bring about increasingly violent tactics as a civilian population is to be scared into submission. 7) Immediate support for the South Vietnamese in Vietnam was justified as the repressive northern, communist regime was repressing freedom and liberty. The same claims were made of the Taliban from the time they came to power. It was a “just war” in 2001 not only because it was allegedly an act of self defense but also because it was about women's rights, removal of oppression, and etcetera. In reality, the Taliban created a movement that provided the first semblance of security for decades maybe centuries in Afghanistan and much of the criticism was and is propaganda. To imagine that in eight years of Taliban rule they were to have garnered similar progressive gains it took women in the West hundreds of years to arrive at is absurd. To deny that they stabilized crime, oppression and corruption, eradicated the poppy production completely and were initiating economic reforms that could have developed security and a form of secure governance is to detach one’s self from reality. This is all the more evident when comparing them to the present Western-backed regime. 8) The Vietnam War was initially about preventing the spread of Communism; this war is about preventing the spread of counter-ideology and although the world is not as familiar with the threat of “Islam- fascism” or the global caliphate that Bush harped on about, the ideological threat of Islamism is gaining popular support and ground in the face of the Muslim world’s observation that the West is at war with Islam. Vietnam only flamed anti-Western sentiment. It did nothing to quell it. The failure of Communism was due largely to its own internal errors and failure to live up to its claims as a revolutionary and emancipatory movement. The reality is that this war may give birth to the domino effect the U.S. does not discuss in public today, much like the domino effect it kept within government planning circles for much of the duration of the so-called “Cold War.” All of these comparisons aside: It seems that there is ample argument that the war is about preservation of power and self interest in international affairs. However, it also seems that it is marked by the lunacy of hubris and pride against defeat that marks imperialist decline. Author William Pfaff reviewed a book called Lessons in Disaster: McGeorge Bundy and the Path to War in Vietnam, on the life of McGeorge "Mac" Bundy, United States National Security Advisor to Presidents Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson from 1961 through 1966, and the man known primarily for his role in escalating the involvement of the United States in Vietnam. In his review, Pfaff describes Bundy's attitude, “American had to ‘win' in Vietnam because America always wins. America knows better than everyone else because of that intellectual firepower deployed at Harvard and other elite universities. America does not have to know about other people because other people are not worth knowing.” This is certainly the attitude of intellectuals and policy makers that write Obama’s speeches today and is the real cause of the escalation. There really is little that America stands to gain in Afghanistan. It is the attitude and hubris of empire that drives the escalation of this war and is very similar to the ongoing destruction of Iraq despite that they now claim victory there. In fact, in Britain they are holding investigations into how policy thinking with regard to the invasion of Iraq unfolded and David Manning, who served as Tony Blair's top foreign policy aide before being appointed ambassador to Washington in 2003 told a British inquiry into the Iraq war that the American military did not think peacekeeping was their responsibility. He said, "The American military thought that they were fighting a war and when the war was over, they were expecting to go home," there was no conception of liberation. Manning said British troops in Basra talked to local people, but that American troops were not willing to do the same. "I was very struck … by the reluctance of U.S. soldiers to get out of their tanks, to take off their helmets and to try to build up links with local communities," he said. "They looked still much more in fighting mode than in peacekeeping mode." As Obama and McCrystal try to rebrand this war as a “just war” and win the hearts and minds, this attitude will surely show through and efforts will prove futile. There is only one force Afghans hate worse than the contemporary government in Kabul and that is the imperialist, foreign soldiers occupying their land. 7
  8. 8. Obama, in complete arrogance, exemplifies the reality that American hubris had turned to high degree. In his speech he claimed Iraq as a victory by saying, "Thanks to [U.S. troops'] courage, grit and perseverance, we have given Iraqis a chance to shape their future." We have given Iraqis a chance to shape their future? This is only took the death of 1.3 million Iraqi’s (and rising), the displacement of a couple million more, the imposition of a civil war, the funding of yet another brutal and corrupt regime, and the expense of more than a trillion dollars. Today there is less security in Iraq than under Sadaam and more violence. 100,000 American troops remain, countless thousands of private mercenaries are still present, and the Americans want to proclaim this a victory, an “opportunity” for Iraqis to shape their future? Still, as all of this has occurred and while similar arguments can be made that America gained strategically in preserving the petrodollar scheme and preparing the potential for lucrative oil and reconstruction contracts, the reality is different. The New York Times reported that at a recent business investment conference in Iraq, Iranian and Turkish stalls were ubiquitous while American firms were invisible. The production sharing agreements for Iraqi oil turned out less than ideal for multinational oil companies and little was gained when analyzed against cost. The only reason they can claim victory is because Al-Qaeda has been “defeated” in Iraq. The actuality of Iraq suggests that it is a neurotic entanglement far from over and due primarily to American arrogance and refusal to admit defeat. The folly of imperialism continues in Afghanistan and suggests a continuation of senseless militaristic expansion with no regard to coherent strategy, properly termed as insane. So how did Vietnam end? Howard Zinn reports in his People’s History of the United States that, “By the end of 1973, with no victory in sight and North Vietnamese troops entrenched in various parts of the South, the United States agreed to accept a settlement that would withdraw American troops and leave the revolutionary troops where they were, until a new elected government would be set up including Communist and non-Communist elements. But the Saigon government refused to agree, and the United States decided to make one final attempt to bludgeon the North Vietnamese into submission. It sent waves of B-52s over Hanoi and Haiphong, destroying homes and hospitals, killing unknown numbers of civilians. The attack did not work. Many of the B-52s were shot down, there was angry protest all over the world-and Kissinger went back to Paris and signed very much the same peace agreement that had been agreed on before.” “The United States withdrew its forces, continuing to give aid to the Saigon government, but when the North Vietnamese launched at tacks in early 1975 against the major cities in South Vietnam, the government collapsed. In late April 1975, North Vietnamese troops entered Saigon. The American embassy staff fled, along with many Vietnamese who feared Communist rule, and the long war in Vietnam was over. Saigon was renamed Ho Chi Minh City, and both parts of Vietnam were unified as the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. Some claim that America was defeated in Vietnam. The wanton destruction and the continuation unto today of American empire suggests otherwise. In the end a senseless war killed millions. History, since that time, has witnessed the growth of imperialism anew. The escalation of troops in Vietnam occurred in the context of a bipolar world, where as other atrocities committed by the United States in the Cold War, were allegedly justified because of the contagion that may spread were communists allowed to declared victory. Today, however, we live in an allegedly unipolar world. We are to believe that with the fall of the U.S.S.R. so too the only alternative to western liberal, capitalism also failed as intellectuals like Francis Fukayama pronounced an End of History and the world prepared for the so-called spread of freedom and democracy for all. Today freedom and democracy, as it always has, means the imposition of a friendly corrupt regime loyal to American and western corporatist interests. Afghanistan is certainly no exception to this reality. The U.S. government and its military, as in Iraq, never had any intention of liberating Afghanistan or establishing democracy. The real aim was to remove the politically-intractable Taliban and replace them with a puppet regime run by a former-CIA asset. The rest of Afghanistan is for sale to the highest warlord bidder, this is evidenced by Karzai’s alliance with some of the most brutal warlords in the recent election. While the apparent intent of this policy may prove to be the preservation of a buffer between China and the Middle East, strategic control of gas from Turkmenistan and general influence and control over the Caspian Sea region, it is 8
  9. 9. also marked by an overreach that has witnessed the bankruptcy and subsequent fall of many empires in time. There are slightly more than 550,000 U.S. soldiers in the active duty Army and about 200,000 active marines. More than 100,000 of them are in Iraq, and 68,000 are already in Afghanistan with 30,000 on the way. The rest are scattered about on the nearly 1,000 military bases the world owns and rather than maintaining its economic dominance over the world the U.S. economy is still in decline. The War in Afghanistan represents the potential dismantlement of this display of power and the permanent proof that, no matter how large, military dominance cannot secure complete control over any group of people. After the U.S.’s failure in Vietnam and the awareness that arose amongst the populace as a result of the Anti-War movement, the U.S.’s exercise of power in the international arena had to change. Proxy wars became the preferred means of manipulation and control. The Afghan mujahedeen are essentially a product of that need. In order to preserve dominance over global affairs after Vietnam, the West not only engaged in proxy wars abroad but also engaged their domestic populations in the crass consumerist public relations propaganda that made sure the generation of anti-war activists would be absolved and that issues like environmentalism, homosexuality promotion, and other sexual freedoms would dominate the advocacy sector. Racism, imprisonment, class and labor wars were able to continue and reestablish themselves in normalcy only after the people had been placed strategically in the shopping centers that would come to define American culture over the next decades. Now the American era of consumerism and prosperity has been replaced with debt and significant ignorance, a potential precursor to fascism from an era before. In fact, we see the U.S. polls show that not only are Americans increasingly concerned with domestic affairs, they also believe that the U.S. should act as it desires in the international arena with less concern for the positions of other countries, both precursory norms for the fascism of Germany, Italy and Japan. The intervention and surge in troops will, more than likely, function like the stimulus package and bailouts Obama inserted in the American economy as he came to power. In the short term the injection of more troops, like the injection of cheap money will bail out the global power structure at which America lies at the forefront; the military-industrial complex will be afforded lucrative new contracts, soldiers who would otherwise be unemployed and angry at home will now have the opportunity to exercise their displaced anger on innocent Afghans trying to make sure that the U.S. military “finishes the job,” and the buffer that continues to function in a manner coincident to the intention of Afghanistan’s founding in the Great Game of Western Empire, may prevent the kind of serious collaboration of Russia and China that preserves Western economic dominance. With a surge of troops going mostly to Pashtuni-Helmand Province and the U.S. funding a war in the Northwest Pakistan region, the last two remaining links that would connect a pipeline through Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India to the ocean, seem to be the target. Indeed were the United States to station a military protectorate over Kandahar in Afghanistan and Quetta in Pakistan, the construction of the pipeline may proceed. With India entering into new relations with the United States, it seems it is still readjusting and planning as a rational superpower. The apparent policy is to maintain a unipolar world. The alternative would be a regional solution and would distribute the spoils of war somewhat evenly over the region something the American Empire cannot stand and so it wages onward in irrational overreach without concern and until there is a cohesive, alternative ideology and counter-hegemonic notion this state of affairs will go on. The United States Empire should have been exhausted in Vietnam. With its currency pegged to gold and the massive inflationary process that occurred to keep spending militarily in Vietnam, the United States turned to its allies in Europe to fund its deficit. France, a willing creditor, would cash its dollar holdings monthly for gold right up through the late 1960’s. The effects of this policy should have bankrupted American Empire in Vietnam, but instead the entire world was taken of the Bretton Woods financial system and the global economy entered the floating-exchange rate speculative fiat monetary order that created the uneven gains of globalization and imposed a dollar dominated finance imperialism that continues to wage onward today. Afghanistan may prove to be the very rut that ends the perpetual imperialist advances however. As Harvard scholar Steven Walt wisely points out on his blog in an article entitled The Hidden Cost of Afghan Escalation, the surge in Afghanistan will take away from dealing with other countries in the world. He classifies these as “opportunity 9
  10. 10. costs” and lists Japan, Turkey, and Brazil,4 countries that have arisen since the War on Islam began and that represent rising counter hegemonic power in the economic sphere, but he fails to mention India’s divestment from dollars to gold, China’s rising interest in divesting from dollars and the possibility that Russia is sitting idle and patiently watching the United States remain stuck in its own quagmire. The behavior of the major players in the international arena today suggests that all are waiting to see if the days of dollar diplomacy may end, but hoping not to push for rapid alteration for fear that they too may collapse from within due to their central banks own dependence on the maintained value of the U.S. dollar. Indeed, the financial commitment in Afghanistan will further contribute to weakening the dollar and in the event central banks no longer fund America’s debt, the war would end tomorrow. The lesson the War in Afghanistan may permanently prove is that no matter how powerful a military, occupation and colonialism does not work. Should the Afghanistan insurgency succeed, militarism modeled on Western history could be ended indefinitely. But the alternative nation state powers represent no obstacle and diversion from imperialist norms. Surely the aspirations of other powers would replace America’s were it to fall. In fact a multi-polar world could be incredibly more repressive and violent than today’s unipolar order. In fact, if the Islamic resistance is not molded into a movement that can rescue the world from the oppression, violence and hatred of nation states as we now view them, imperialism will remain the norm and quite natural in a world of natural selection and survival of the fittest realism. Conscious and peace-loving Muslims should rally around the resistance in Afghanistan and seek to mobilize around it into mass support for truly Islamic alternatives across the globe. The potential bankruptcy of the United States may be followed by nuclear war, direct and intentional genocide, a policy of starvation upon the entire developing world, and/or other maniacal tendencies it is almost guaranteed would be engaged in were the American Empire to fail or even falter. On the other hand, it may prove to be the beginning of an end to the End of History, the ushering in of a new era of multi-polarity, and for Muslims the beginning of an opportunity to implement the principles of Islam in its traditional liberating sense. The second form and governance of the Taliban could bring stability and security to Afghanistan as it did before but, if the proper ideas and understandings of Islam are incorporated, the people of Afghanistan could come to represent the initiation of Islamic Renaissance the world across, something all Muslims should want to see and have a stake in. For these reasons and many more Obama’s surge may be a blessing, although it is hard to look optimistically at a guarantee of more violence, a disproportionate death of Afghans to foreign troops, and the complete destruction of a country by imperialist invaders. However, empires typically do not end peacefully, that is a fact of history and it is oftentimes the struggle against them that leads to the experience, advancements and development of skills necessary to molds an opportunity to implement an antithetical system based on peace and liberation from the oppressor. Here is to peace and liberation! Viva Viva Taliban!!! 4 10